Aquaculture industry in Africa
Experts definition of aquaculture is simply breeding, keeping, hatching, culturing or harvesting of fish.In Africa, commercial aquaculture produces species including silver perch, yabbies, marron, barramundi, abalone, mussels among others. Aquaculture, the Africa’s fastest growing food production sector, is set to overtake capture fisheries as the major source of seafood and projected to provide 70 per cent of African seafood by 2025. Maritime and fisheries sectors in several African countries have over the last two years announced they will issue instructions to sink vessels seized on allegations of conducting illegal fishing activities in their country waters. Within the last three years, four countries have sunk over 50 fishing boats and in 2017, they are expected to sink more foreign boats.Some of those countries have stressed illegal fishing in their waters remained a serious problem, therefore they would maintain tough stance on the crime. The tough policy by those African countries data available shows has been fruitful as fish production had doubled.Based on the findings, many foreign ships that had entered African waters not only caught fish illegally but also smuggled various goods, including drugs, alcohol and weapons used by criminals.Huge demand for seafood is increasing and capture fisheries are at, or in some locations may have exceeded like Lake Victoria in East Africa, their maximum sustainable yield and therefore, to meet future demand, the growth of aquaculture production need to increase.According to data your blogger has obtained, in 2016/17, the value of African aquaculture production was approximately $980 million and accounted for 27 per cent of the value of African fisheries production. The largest African aquaculture industry sector is in South Africa, which continues to grow substantially and in 2016/17 was worth nearly $270 million. In Africa, the pattern of production in the last decade has changed significantly, with a shift from the production of wild-caught stocks down 67%, towards production of aquaculture products 78%. In Africa, the total value of commercial fisheries and aquaculture production including pearling in 2016 was $580 million, with pearling contributing $280 million and aquaculture $300 million. In South Africa, the value of the fish from aquaculture reached US$1 billion in 2016, or a 54 percent increase from three years ago.The achievement is a result of the budget spending policy, which was money following function and money following prioritized programs according to an industry insider who spoke to your blogger recently.She said the production of decorative fish in 2016 increased by 12 percent from 2015.
In trying to increase the production, the South African government plans to develop aquaculture in all provinces but has started with Western Cape, adding that the Pretoria government would distribute some millions of young fish to farmers to revitalize units of floating nets to grow fish and distribute insurance premium for thousands of hectares of fish farms.In addition to that, the government will also revitalize fishponds, develop fishponds and open offshore aquaculture in all regions.The government believes aquaculture has a strategic function, economically, socially and geopolitically, particularly because it is has great potential to improve welfares of the people and feels that its important to make aquaculture business more effective and efficient so that it will greatly affect the South African economy soon. Besides producing food, aquaculture can also be used for producing nutritional and industrial compounds boosting numbers of wild fish for recreational fishing, restoring threatened and endangered species as well rebuilding important shellfish habitats and providing ornamental fish, coral and live rock for aquariums. Emerging sectors with capacity for growth in East and Southern Africa include species such as coral and artemia. New species groups such as kelp and seaweeds may also emerge according to the data your blogger has analyzed.Aquaculture can benefit African communities through opportunities to participate in and help develop the industry. For example, by establishing businesses that provide services for projects, such as environmental monitoring, or developing land and infrastructure that can be leased to aquaculture ventures. Aquaculture projects integrated with tourism are emerging. Opportunities exist for pastoralists like the Maasai in Tanzania, Karimojong in Uganda and Turkana in Kenya and farmers to use inland saline and artesian waters to grow fish to supplement their incomes.African commitment to aquaculture will stimulate investment and provide certainty to the industry and community mainly by ensuring access to natural resources, including coastal waters are suitable for large scale production and wild stocks for use as broodstock. For that to happen, continuing to reduce unnecessary regulation and providing strong fish health capability such as diagnostic services, advice and support will help grow the industry to reach its potential.